Hydropower, Project Development, Wind Power

Wind Turbines Operational at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

The U.S. military’s Guantanamo Bay naval facility, which includes a contentious prison camp for enemy combatants, now has a different reason to make headlines. An on-site commercial-scale wind power facility, which has been in the works for some time, is now officially up and running and generating power for the base.

With four 275-foot tall wind turbines, each with blades spanning 177 feet, the project is the largest to date for The Department of the Navy (DON) “Our renewable energy projects, like the Guantanamo Bay wind turbines, demonstrate the Navy and Marine Corps team’s commitment to energy conservation,” said William Tayler, director, DON Shore Energy Office. This commitment is largely tied to the fact that almost all facets of the military are heavily and increasingly reliant on a liquid fuel infrastructure. This is particularly apparent at distant military facilities like Guantanamo Bay and expanding facilities in Middle East. At Guantanamo Bay, where the military imports large quantities of diesel fuel for power generation, the wind turbines are expected to reduce diesel consumption by 650,000 gallons per year for a savings of $1.2 million. This, of course, also offers some environmental benefits including a reduction of 26 tons of sulfur dioxide, 15 tons of nitrous oxide and 13 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions every year, according to the DON. Together, the four 950 kW NEG Micon turbines will generate enough electricity to supply about 25 percent of the peak power needed to operate the base. In years of typical weather, the wind turbines will produce almost 8 million kWh of electricity. Construction of the wind energy project began in July 2004 at a cost of nearly USD$12 million. The project was made possible through a partnership between the Navy and NORESCO of Westborough, Mass., as part of an energy savings performance contract (ESPC). “While this is just one of many collaborations we’ve had with the Navy, this has been one of the most significant renewable energy initiatives that shows how partnerships can make a project of this scale possible,” said Neil Petchers, vice president, NORESCO.